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Spring outings & thoughts on pitching and presenting

It certainly has been a busy 2010 so far. Two startups I have worked with closed their financing rounds recently. Seems like 2010 has a lot more optimism and positive energy packed into it! There's event talk of some juicy IPO prospects this year.. if only..

The end of 2009 also saw me getting placed to the Vigo Programme steering group (led by Risto Siilasmaa). I am hoping to contribute in the renewal and reinventing of startup and growth company funding in Finland. The programme certainly has some good and ambitious goals, and plenty of work ahead of it.

My last blog entry was about a TV chat (again, sorry, they keep wanting me back, and I keep going.. ) That's now Online here behind this link. Big thanks to Vesa Palmu for that!

This spring I'll be "outing" quite a bit. I'm going to be out there to present about various topics and have sparring sessions with startups etc. Here's a list of upcoming events where I'll be around:

Jan 22 - Talking about social media at a SAP event
Jan 26 - Talking about social media at an MTL event
Jan 27 - Coaching and sparring startups in Hämeenlinna
Feb 3 - Coaching and sparring startups in Kouvula
Feb 4 - Speaking at a Nixu event
Feb 9-10 - Sparring startups in Tampere
Feb 16 Sparring startups in Vaasa
Feb 25 - Speaking about social media at TAMK event in Tampere
Mar 3 - Speaking about social media at a Nordea event in Turku
Mar 11 - Speaking about social media in Tampere at an entrepreneur event
Mar 18 - Speaking at a Microsoft event
Mar 23 - Speaking (or lecturing?) at TKK school in Otaniemi
Mar 25 - Panelist in an event of Innovation Journalism
May 5 - Speaking about social media in Tampere at a TAKK event

Btw the "coaching and sparring startups" events are FREE for companies to attend and all the places are not booked yet. Sign up from here.

Why do I get around that much and take on speaking assignments? There are a few reasons why I do it;

1) I meet interesting people and expand my network. This happens almost every time, always a big plus. After presenting people usually want to talk to me, that is, if they haven't boo'ed me off stage..

2) an entrepreneur needs to be a decent presenter. This helps hone the skill and keep a good touch to it. If you haven't presented in a while, you kind of loose touch. Getting out there and just doing it is good practice and comes in as a valuable competence when presenting your new startup to audiences - not to mention investors.

3) Hopefully I also have something useful to say - and it would be actually beneficial for people to attend a talk, listen and have a chat. This is a way to keep that in check and get feedback - if people hate it, they will say it.

.. There isn't that kind of money in speaking gigs that it would be financially very smart to do this as a job. If you plan on maximizing the money alone, my advice for you would be; focus on building up the value of your company and forget a hobby like this one ;-)

However, we all know that Finns especially need the practice when it comes to pitching and presenting. I am no exception there. Go for the opportunities to pitch & present and practice, practice, practice.. If you plan on being a successful entrepreneur you will need the skill in so many encounters along the way. Even consider taking one of those PR training courses where they video your presentation and force you to watch it. I have one two of those: highly useful and always humbling..

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